Afroman Teaches Intro To Servos, Builds Laser Turret

After a longish hiatus, we were pleased to see a new video from [Afroman], one of the most accessible and well-spoken teachers the internet has to offer. If you’re new to electronics, see the previous sentence and resolve to check out his excellent videos. The new one is all about servos, and it culminates in a simple build that provides a foundation for exploring robotics.

[Afroman] leaves no gear unturned in his tour de servo, which is embedded after the break. He explains the differences between open vs. closed loop motor systems, discusses the different sizes and types of servos available, and walks through the horns and pigtails of using them in projects. Finally, he puts this knowledge to use by building a laser turret based on a pan-tilt platform.

The Arduino-driven turret uses two micro servos controlled with pots to move by degrees in X/Y space. Interestingly, [Afroman] doesn’t program the board in the Arduino IDE using wiring. Instead, he uses an open-source microcontroller language/IDE called XOD that lets you code by building a smart sort of schematic from drag-and-drop components and logic nodes. Draw the connections, assign your I/O pin numbers, and XOD will compile the code and upload it directly to the board.

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Motion Detecting Cat Toy

We love our pets, but sometimes we just can’t keep up with them all the time. Sometimes, we need some automated playmates for our furry pals. [Kateham] has built a motion detecting cat toy to keep their cat content and active. Their price list was roughly $5 for the whole project, but they did obtain things like microcontrollers from family members. Some places they did manage to cut costs were to harvest various parts from a VHS deck. Its great to see kids not only hacking, but recycling as well. Great job [Kateham]. This project is like a simpler version of the laser pup.